Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Earth Day from TOP!

Earth Day pictures.
We wanted to recognize Earth Day at The Outdoor Preschool-a subject near and dear to our hearts. We began with talk of the earth and a coloring exercise. While we colored in the map of the earth we talked about how there was more water than land on the earth. That was very surprising for many of the young people. While some kids created art, others were digging in the dirt-finding mole pathways and worms. Others climbed their favorite trees or made mud "rice and beans" and mud "chocolate". There were lots of laughs to be had when the teachers happily "ate" the mud from the "cafe".
Digging to find mole pathways.

The Mud Cafe.
During circle time we talked about how we could help the earth every day for Earth Day. There were lots of good suggestions of picking up garbage, recycling and planting plants.

Did you know that there was a spotting of a Great Horned Owlet in the woods at Farrel-McWhirter? Everyone was excited to go see if we could find the owl. After spending time looking at photos of owls our groups split up to go and find them. Farmer Tom had told Teacher Ann on Tuesday where he had seen the owlet so we had a good idea of where to look. Next to the place where we play "moles".

The yellow group first went to see how the baby chicks are growing and to see if there were eggs in the chicken house. (there were 3 hens sitting on eggs!) Then the children were to choose which was the way to get to the mole spot. At each fork in the trail, I let the kids choose a direction. They did very well finding their way there.
Kids said "We are racing!"
We came up on the mole spot very quietly, searching the trees for owls. We didn't see any-but the kids were very responsive to watching and observing. We will keep looking for the owls each week-hopefully we'll see the owlet or the parents.
Link to a photo of a Great Horned Owlet
Jake sorting plastic bugs.
FYI-Thank you to Edit-Nicholas's mom for volunteering to help out on May 10th!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fairy gardens are real!

This fairy garden has a soft path made out of grass clippings that leads up to the garden.

Jen and I were so glad to get back to preschool and spend the day with your kids! Their enthusiasm and ability to appreciate the little things in life is lovely and helps us to see the little things too!

This week I was inspired to teach the children at TOP how to build a fairy garden after reading about a decorated stump from an old Big Leaf Maple tree in the Seattle Times yesterday morning. I brought in the photo and article to preschool to give a little nudge towards the thought that things in the newspaper can be interesting. The children passed around the article and accompaning photo and looked at it during circle time. I think I'll bring in more photos from the newspaper in the future...hmm.

So the children all recieved a bowl to gather flowers and other natural items with. We had a quick lesson on what was appropriate to pick (dandelions, the little white flowers) and what wasn't (trillium flowers, daffodils). I was very pleased to see that they knew the difference. We also talked about not eating things in the woods unless a teacher said it was ok ("What about huckleberries!" said Max.)
Yes, there are eatable plants in the forest but we wait until they are ripe and ok to eat and make sure that they won't make us sick! We had a lot of animated discussions during our circle time this week!

Then we were off in our color groups to gather. My group spent time finding dandelions, white flowers, grass clippings and some sticks and then together we put them in a hidden spot, decorating the ground. Pretty soon there were other secret areas that got flowers and became fairy houses. We plan on Thursday to show our fairy spots to the other group.

This garden has a soft bed for fairies.

The blue group was too excited to spend time making fairy gardens. They had a visiting teacher from California in their group whom they were anxious to take on a tour of "our" forest. "Teacher Lauryn" is touring the northwest looking at outdoor programs in order to get a preschool program started at her park in Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Marin, California. The kids were able to show off by telling her how to stay safe in the woods and where all of their cool playing places are! She was very happy to spend the day with our kids.

As we come up on the last 5 weeks of school-I just want to mention that we will have a picnic the last week of school. More information to follow. Keep an eye out for the date in upcoming news.

FYI----I have been told by a parent that Bogg Boots are on sale for 1/2 off on the REI website at this time. That's a good deal!|13029|bogs%20kids||S|p|13088065205&gclid=CN3T0Oqa0a8CFSsHRQodhRGfIQ